Ah, Bisto!

I’ve been enjoying Alan Bennett’s ‘Untold Stories’

He reflects on a friend’s funeral Mass: ‘the Catholic Mass … is open to anybody who just happens to be passing. There’s almost an ‘Ah, Bisto!’ quality to it so that even at the smartest requiems there are these oddities who, not having anything better to do, just wandered in. And that way, maybe, salvation lies.’

I have a similar test
– which lives uneasily alongside my tendency to like worship highly organised, disciplined and economical to the point of being sparse – that worship should be so unself-consciously ‘just there’ that it should be possible to drive a herd of goats through the middle of it without anything seeming out of place.

And some nice lines about the hereafter:

I know so many little things,
And now the Angels will make haste
To dust it all away with wings!
O God, you made me like to know,
You kept the things straight in my head,
Please God, if you can make it so,
Let me know SOMETHING when I’m dead.

E Nesbitt’s ‘The things that matter’
quoted in Philip Larkin’s ‘Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse’